Ninja Turtle Sibling?

22 Jan

Remember this dresser restored by the lovely Brittany as memorialized in this post?  She worried she had turned it into a Ninja turtle dresser!

Well, she’s gone and done it again, this time with nightstands.  She had some leftover veneer and paint and renovated these lovely little beauties too!  I think they look awesome.  What about you?  I especially like the Orla Kiely wallpaper pattern in the back.  Despite all my ranting, I am obviously in a co-dependent relationship with Orla.  Will I never be free?


And voila!




Ikea Maskros

21 Jan

Wow.  Yet again another extended holiday from the blog.  Emphasis on holiday because the holidays did me in this year.  Starting a new job and juggling all the chaos around Christmas and New Year was more than I could handle and the blog suffered.  But things did get done, believe it or not.  The happiest of which are the new fixtures in our bedroom.  We had Brett’s parents over for dinner last night and Ida the Great commented that our new fixtures were a bold choice!  Bold indeed and I love them.

Okay, I know it’s overdone.  And I know that even in a short amount of time, people are sick of it.  There are some really amazing Ikea-hacks done to the Maskros lamps, too.  However, I like it as it is.  I just like it.  I fell in love with it when I first saw it in the post I did on Farralone, where is hangs in the guest room that Marilyn Monroe stayed in.

Frank Sinatra

And yes, when IKEA first showed it at the ICFF it started to multiply all over the world like rabbits.  People began to whine about seeing it everywhere and I am sure I will get a response to this post that makes me seem unoriginal and banal.  (Probably not.  All you people are too nice for that.)

I would like to argue that perhaps what we have on our hands with the Maskros is a classic (or a new classic according to this post on Houzz).  Design-forward, unique, accessbile.  Aren’t these the criteria used by our favorite MCM designers to guide their work?  Why does good design need to be exclusive to the elite?  None of those designers would agree with the design snobs of today and are likely rolling over in their graves in despair of those who ‘just don’t get it’.

Well, we get it.  And we fell in love with it.  To replace these decade-appropriate fixtures with something so fun and bold seemed to me the perfect thing to do.  (And, according to my husband, much easier said than done.)

house 33

Plus, I love the way the Maskros echoes the design on our window panels from West Elm.


First of all the top of the Masksros is a narrow cylinder about six inches in diameter.  The hole cut for these lights is more like 12 inches.  We found some covers at Home Depot for less than $10 each.  Granted, I would have prefered a style without the faux molding around the edge, but we couldn’t find any.


And let’s be honest, putting these fixtures together is quite time consuming!  They come in this little box with the usually unintelligible IKEA directions.



And the pieces look something like this…


Ummm…yikes.  So I got on the handy dandy internet and found this lovely stop-motion video about assembling the lamp.

Mind you, I put on the flowers before hanging the lantern, but either would work.

To show the progression, the room has gone from this… (You can’t see the flower printed wallpaper!)

To this…

To this…

And now with the lovely Maskros…



Almost there, but not quite.  In the nook at the end of the room where the dog beds and random nightstand live, I imagine a lovely gray chaise lounge like this one from West Elm.  (My entire bedroom is becoming an homage to West Elm!)

Lorimer Chaise

And perhaps a hanging floor lamp like this one.

Overarching Floor Lamp - Natural

Thought that might be a bit much with the Maskros lamp.  Not sure, but I want something softer than an overhead light for reading in my perfect little corner.

And of course, we need some area rugs and artwork.  As mentioned in this post, I think a painting by Maeve above the bed would be the perfect finishing touch.  And she is already working on, so stay tuned!

The world’s most recognizable profile…

30 Nov

Courtesy of the lovely blog, Whorange, are these wonderful photos of the upcoming movie ‘Hitchcock’. I saw the trailer for this when we went to see ‘Lincoln’ last weekend.  (Another ‘must-see’.)  We are serious Hitchcock fans around here.  Even the girls.  I would have to say our favorite is ‘Rear Window’ or maybe ‘Vertigo’ but hell, I pretty much like anything with Jimmy Stewart in it.  (And can you guess what our favorite Christmas movie is?)

Enjoy these mid-century set lovelies and let me know what you think of the film.

Anthony Hopkins Scarlett Johansson Hitchcock

bullet bras, coral walls, shag rugs, red lipstick…and murder.

the LA times recently featured stills from the new film hitchcock and i couldn’t resist the production design by judy becker (the fighter, brokeback mountain) and set designer robert gould (the artist).

filmed primarly in homes around los angeles and pasadena, styles range from english tudor mansions and a mid-century bachelor pad to hollywood regency bedrooms and wood panelled studies.

a most curious collection indeed…

Jessica Biel Scarlett Johansson Hitchcock 1950s production design

Anthony Hopkins Hitchcock 1950s production design

Hitchcock Set Design Judy Becker Beverly Hills home

Hitchcock Set Design Judy Becker Kitchen

Psycho Scarlett Johansson Hitchcock 1950s production design

Malibu Hitchcock Beach House set design

Hitchcock film set design danish modern

read more behind-the-set of hitchcock at the LA times. article by the one and only david keeps.

Mad Women

28 Nov

You all know about my affection for Mad Men and for advertising.  Well, I have a little news.  While most of you know that I have been working as a marketer in the video gaming space, I have decided to make a shift back to my roots.  I have taken a job as the Managing Director at the Seattle agency Copacino+Fujikado.  Yes, that’s right.  Madison Fourth Avenue, here I come.  I am off to be a Mad Woman again.

And to celebrate, I bought myself the book Mad Women as brought to my attention by a reader, Angela.  (Thank you!)  Below is the AdAge article on the launch of the book.  I loved the stories Jane tells about her days as a Mad Woman in the 60s.  I also loved her thoughtful commentary on the challenges of being a working mom both then and now.  Enjoy!  And if you read it, let me know what you think!

If Don Draper or Roger Sterling were to write a tell-all, it wouldn’t be hard to guess what it’d say — something along the lines of “I cheated on my wife with so and so and I drank way too many whiskeys.” But if Peggy Olson or Joan Harris were to spill all their secrets, wouldn’t it be more enlightening?

That’s the thinking behind a book scheduled to debut just ahead of the long-awaited fifth season of “Mad Men” next year. “Mad Women: the Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond,” is the latest work of creative legend Jane Maas.

Back in the golden days of Madison Avenue, Ms. Maas was a creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, working on clients such as General Foods, S.C. Johnson and American Express before moving on to Procter & Gamble and the “I Love New York” campaign at Wells Rich Greene. In the late ’80s, she was named president of the New York office of Earle Palmer Brown, one of the first female execs in advertising to achieve a top post. Prior to “Mad Women,” Ms. Maas co-authored the book “How to Advertise” and penned an autobiography, “Adventures of an Advertising Woman.”

In Ms. Maas’ words, her latest book is the “true story of what it was like for women in advertising in that era of rampant sex, three-martini lunches and overt sexism.” We can expect plenty of colorful anecdotes, such as an annual Ogilvy boat ride that Ms. Maas remembers as a “a sex-and-booze filled orgy.” There’s a sober side too, one that deals with the injustices women faced at the time. They were rarely promoted to roles beyond a secretary, suffered unequal pay and female executives were discouraged from having children.


Voices in the book, which is published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, include Mary Wells Lawrence, founder of Wells Rich Greene; Shelly Lazarus of Ogilvy and former McCann creative Laurel Cutler, as well as the newer generation of adwomen. Oh, and Ms. Maas spoke to a few men too.

Ad Age: What can we expect from “Mad Women”?

Ms. Maas: This book has two aspects. First, it’s funny. Chapter Two is called “Sex in the Office,” and Chapter Three is “Get the Money Before They Screw You.” [The late] Shirley Polykoff [former Foote Cone Belding exec and creator of the Clairol tagline Does She … Or Doesn’t She?] gave me some advice one day and she said ‘Get the money before they screw you like they screwed me,’ she said [referring to] the men who run the agencies. Other chapters are about drinking, smoking and drugs. Second, in the midst of all the fun and games, there’s a very serious message about women’s roles in advertising and in women’s business in general.

Ad Age: What are some of the ways in which working in the ad business 50 years ago is different than it is today?

Ms. Maas: I’ll tell you first what is most similar. When I talk to women who were working mothers in the ’60s and when I talk to the working mothers today in 2011, they sound the same. They use exactly the same words. They say, ‘I’m torn, I’m not being a really good mother, I’m not being a really good wife, and I’m not being a really good professional.’ Women who have kids are just as torn as we were back then. The biggest thing that’s changed is that women are not accepting of being second-class citizens anymore. When I was a junior copywriter at Ogilvy, a man who sat next to me went into the boss and announced he was getting married; it was a great thing and he got a raise. When women announced they were getting married they were warned they had to leave if they got pregnant. Well not if, it was when — back then everybody expected they were going to get pregnant. And, there was no maternity leave. No one was expected to come back after having a baby because women who had children under the age of 16 did not work in those days; it was socially unacceptable to have young children and work. And if you did, everybody at the office thought you were married to a real deadbeat, that your husband must be a drunk, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. You don’t see working moms hanging around at the Mad Men agencies.

Ad Age: Do you think Mad Men is accurate in its portrayal of women?

Ms. Maas: Yes, I do. For instance, Peggy Olson has a career path very similar to mine; she started off as a secretary and then got to writing copy by pleading, and then writing copy on nights and weekends until finally she was promoted to a copywriter. Still, a lot of her ideas are met with poo poo because the men think they know better. I think that’s very realistic in terms of how women copywriters were treated in those days — they were only allowed to work on certain types of products like baby food and things like that.

Ad Age: Are there any details about life in advertising as a woman that the show misses out on?

Ms. Maas: The only thing I think it gets wrong is that once a woman was promoted to being a copywriter, she wore a hat in the office. At Ogilvy, at Y&R — everywhere — it was a symbol that you achieved new status. Secretaries did not wear hats in the office. A number of women copywriters, predating me in the late ’50s, told me that they wore their hats even when she went to the ladies’ room.

Ad Age: In 2011, you think that the status of women in the ad business at executive levels is where it needs to be?

Ms. Maas: There’s a long way to go to resolve that terrible conflict that women who are working and mothers have, but that has nothing to do with advertising. That’s a gender problem that women will have to solve and men are going to have to help them solve it. The advertising industry has recognized women widely and wonderfully. There have been so many women in top creative roles and so many women running agencies. I’m sure the flaming feminists would say onward onward, but I think we’re doing very well.

All I want for Christmas is…

27 Nov

Ummm…where have I been that I missed this?  Mad Men Barbies?  Came out almost three years ago?  For reals?  I am transported back to the time when all I wanted for Christmas was the Barbie condo with the elevator.  Sigh, to be a kid again.

However, nothing compares to these awesome Mad Men dolls.  I know I am 41 years old, but I want them.  I really want them.  Unfortunately, looking at the Mattel site, many are sold out.  I can buy Joan Halloway on Ebay for $80+ but I don’t think I want to do that.

I know.  Maybe I’ll ask Santa.

Betty Draper

Don Draper

Joan Halloway

Roger Sterling

And as if that weren’t enough, I just saw the sets Michael Williams created for the dolls, martinis and all.  (Courtesy of If it’s Hip, It’s Here blog.)

And Michael Williams homage to Jonathan Adler.  These dolls have nicer homes than I do!

Michael a photographer and graphic designer whose personal work focuses on collectible 1:6 scale fashion dolls, including Barbie, Ken, Fashion Royalty, FR Nippon Misaki and R&D Susie, as well as dioramas and dollhouses, who hordes RE-MENT and MegaHouse miniatures as props for my photos.

See more of Michael’s work at his site here.
And on for whom he shoots.

More George…

25 Nov

Because clearly this weekend, I can’t get enough George.

You know how sometimes you want something so badly and for so long that when you finally get it, it can’t possibly measure up to your imagination and expectations?  Well, that’s not what happened.

I have pined and dreamt of a George Nelson bubble lamp for as long as I can remember.  (Okay, total hyperbole, but roll with me here, people.)  So when my birthday came last month and I got birthday money from family (I heart birthday money!), I decided to take the plunge and buy myself a bubble lamp. 

At first, I didn’t want to pay full price for a new one.  Plus, I had heard other bloggers wax on about how lovely the warm light was from the vintage ones.  However, as I looked at Ebay and other sites, I just didn’t have the confidence in the state of the lamps that I wanted to.  And honestly, the prices weren’t that much better.  (What has happened to Ebay?  It is IMPOSSIBLE to get a good deal there anymore.) And because I seem to have a ‘why pay less’ disorder, I went to Modernica and bought a new one…a 25″ saucer for $329. The good news?  No tax and no shipping, so that made me feel a little better.

What also made me feel better was getting rid of this:

Now to be perfectly honest, I didn’t find this fixture as offensive as some other members of the family. In fact, I kind of liked its very atomic MCM vibe. However, once that big white box appeared on my doorstep, I knew me and the Jetsons light fixture were going our separate ways. (Any thoughts on what I should do with it? Is it worth putting on Craigslist? Think anyone would want it?)

I love Thanksgiving and I love cooking for a crowd, so more than anything I wanted that lamp up for my Thanksgiving dinner.  And you know what I am thankful for?  A husband who not only know how to do things like that, but who also does it willingly on Thanksgiving day so my vision would be complete.  Now the dining room is almost finished.  Just need a rug and to recover the chairs of our wonderful Drexel dining room chairs.

You have to read George

24 Nov

I have a thing for George Nelson.  If you asked me who my favorite MCM designer is, I would be hard-pressed to decide between him and Eames, but I think he would win.  He has always struck me as a little more philosophically grounded than the fantastic Mr. Eames.  And I get practically school-girlish about his bubble lamps. 

So imagine my elation at finding out his writings trump his designs, according to the piece below from the Design Within Reach blog, Design Notes.   As a woman of words, any man with a higher than 10th grade vocabulary makes me swoon.  And the bravado of the intro to his book which basically says, “You don’t like me?  Put this book down then.” is my design-nerd idea of the charming rebel.

You have to read George.

George Nelson posing for Herman Miller advertisement “Traveling Men,” ca. 1954. Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum Archive.

At last week’s Yale symposium about George Nelson, one message was clear: You have to read George. In other words, George the writer trumps George the architect, George the designer and George the teacher, combined.

For two days, scholars, design nerds, editors and Murray Moss (there is no label to define him) talked about the legacy of this American icon. Known mainly for his furniture and design work for Herman Miller, Nelson also wrote and edited for Architectural Forum, Fortune, Pencil Points, Life and McCall’s, and co-authored the bestselling Tomorrow’s House with Henry Wright.

Cover of November 1959 issue of Architectural Forum, where George Nelson was associate editor (1935-1943) and consulting editor (1944-1949).

Nelson’s unapologetic, unflinching style is immediately clear in Tomorrow’s House, which begins: “This book has a point of view which may seem strange to you. What it is will be made pretty clear in the first few pages of this introduction. If, after reading that far, the viewpoint seems not only strange, but unpalatable as well, put this book aside and forget it, for what we have to say will not be for you.”

He continues, “Today’s house is a peculiarly lifeless affair. The picture one sees in residential neighborhoods the country over is one of drab uniformity: pathetic little white boxes with dressed-up street fronts, each striving for individuality through meaningless changes in detail or color. The reason today’s house is so uninteresting is simply that it fails to echo life as we live it. Expressed in another way, it is hideously inefficient. Less honest thought goes into the design of the average middle-class house than into the fender of a cheap automobile.”

According to professor John Harwood of Oberlin College, Nelson’s fascination with design extended to other areas, and he even hosted an ABC television program called “How to Kill People.” I did a quick search for archival materials and quickly discovered that “how to kill people” is not something you should google – especially at work – so you’ll just have to take Harwood’s word for it. Worth noting, even in this program, Nelson’s concepts were said to have been expressed with brilliance, wit and verve.


As for the exhibition, George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher is worth the trip to Yale. It’s also a treat to explore the Yale School of Architecture building designed by Paul Rudolph.


Paul Rudolph Hall was completed in 1963. The Yale campus also includes buildings by Louis Kahn and Marcel Breuer, and a hockey rink by Eero Saarinen.


The interior and exterior walls of this Brutalist building are made of hammered concrete aggregate, creating an interesting, and oddly soothing, textural pattern. The layout of the rooms, however is a bit choppy and, perhaps due to later renovations, there is a lack of intuitive flow from one space to the next.

George Nelson believed that a space is successful when it’s done with love. I don’t know if Rudolph’s heart was aflutter when designing this building for Yale, but the passion expressed inside its walls makes up for the possible indifference.

The curious appearance of a martini glass on the ledge. Perhaps Nelson, who was a Yale graduate and a fan of martinis, still haunts these halls…

I wish I could say we were seated in Womb Chairs, shown here in the student lounge, but our interest in George Nelson was tested by the brutal seating in Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist building. Described beautifully by author Ralph Caplan, who said, “One of the pleasures of speaking at this symposium is that you get a chance to get out of these seats.” (You also have to read Ralph, but I’ll save that post for another day.)

A gift for you: I found an online version of Nelson’s Tomorrow’s House through Open Library. Enjoy!

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